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britain's best nine-hole courses

Classic 19th holes: The Sacred Nine’s legendary Pink Jug

Dove Jones headed to Suffolk to hear all about the legend that is Royal Worlington and Newmarket's Pink Jug
 

Royal Worlington and Newmarket has a storied history as the home course to the Cambridge University Golf Society and the annual match against the Oxford team.

The course received its Royal title from Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales at the time, Edward VII, was the club president in 1895. Three venerable journalists were associated with the club – Bernard Darwin dubbed it “the Sacred Nine”, Henry Longhurst, a member of the Cambridge team from 1928 to 1931, had a lifelong membership and love affair with the club, and Herbert Warren Wind, the man who coined Augusta’s “Amen Corner”, said it is the “best none-hole course in the world”.

Then there’s the club’s Pink Jug – a potent cocktail that has become not only an historic club’s signature but a beloved club logo as well.

As legend goes, the cocktail was invented during a never-to-be-forgotten weekend house party hosted by members John Morrison and the wonderfully-named Boxer Cannon in 1934. It seems that during the first night of the festivities all of the usual mixing spirits such as vodka and gin were consumed, leaving behind a collection of spirits not normally combined in the same glass.

Their solution was to mix everything left together into a potent punch and serve it in a cranberry glass pitcher, partly to conceal the colour of the finished product.  Not that anyone cared after the first few sips. The party continued and a club tradition was born.

The drink is not only still served but a club staple. Mark Allcorn, Worlington’s secretary, told me that during the latest Cambridge University Golf Club selection dinner the 25 guests drank 34 Pink Jugs between them!

So what’s in it?

  • 1 bottle of Champagne (sparkling wine or Prosecco)
  • 1 measure of Pimms No 1
  • 1 measure of brandy
  • 1 measure of benedictine
  • Ice and a slice of lemon to garnish
  • Pink Jug to serve optional

It will set you back £49 with Champagne and £29 with Prosecco.

The Pink Jug

While no one knows exactly when the image of the Pink Jug, one of my all-time favourite logos, started adorning club ties and other merchandise, according to long-time member Ian Pattinson it predates his time on the Cambridge team almost a half century ago. Being a “Royal”, the club also sports a more traditional logo as well.

The club welcomes visitors and societies with prior arrangement. The day I visited the Woodcocks were enjoying multiple Pink Jugs on their way to afternoon foursomes making for a most welcoming and jovial dining room.

Whether enjoying the actual cocktail or spotting a “Pink Jug” logoed item on the course, it never fails to bring a wee smile.

Dove Jones is an American whose heart lives on the links of Great Britain and Ireland. She has been involved in international golf for over two decades and a member of National Club Golfer’s Top 100s course ranking panels.

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